How many of the emails that come into your inbox do you actually engage with?
Thus begins the challenge for senders of email newsletters. How do you get your email recipients not only to sign up for your newsletter, but to stay engaged once they start receiving your emails?
No matter the success with which you were able to master how to build an email list, your brand’s journey to a successful email list has only just begun. With a large list of subscribers at your fingertips, it is time to make sure your email recipients remain engaged and interested in your brand’s messaging.
Email newsletter strategies that will keep your subscribers engaged
We asked some top email marketing professionals for strategies they suggest to keep your email list engaged. Here’s what they said:
1. Start with a strong welcome campaign
“Keep them engaged from the start. Use a well-crafted welcome campaign to reach out while your brand is still top of mind. Personalizing the welcome campaign as much as possible and use it to direct them your best content/best sellers.
“A welcome campaign can be a great place to tell people how often you will be contacting them and they type of content they should expect to see. If you are using a preference center, let subscribers choose the frequency at which they will receive emails. If a subscriber knows what to expect and when they will look forward to receiving emails and engage with them.”
- Emily Lawson, Senior Email Marketing Strategist, LogoMix
2. Ask your email list for feedback
“Borrowing from the world of HR and employee retention, one of the best ways to keep your list super engaged is to ask it for feedback. By including your subscribers in the making of your brand, company or product, you're inviting them to help co-create alongside you, which boosts engagement and loyalty.”
- Trevor Wolfe, Founder of BigTeam
3. Interact with your list
“Make it interactive -- feature a weekly quote that readers submit, and prompt them to share the quotes publicly, for example tweet them at your brand.”
- Chris Gillespie, CEO at Find a Way Media
4. Try a resend campaign
“One of the most effective strategies I use to keep my email list engaged is a resend campaign. A resend campaign is when you send the same email (typically within 24 hours) to the subscribers that didn't open your newsletter the first time around. In a recent example, implementing a resend campaign effectively increased my open rate by 37%.”
- Adam, Community Manager at BrandPacks.com
5. Don’t overcomplicate your ask
“Keep it simple. Include one thing you want your reader to read and one connected course-of-action you want your reader to do in response to your email.”
- De-de Mulligan, President & Chief Content Strategist, Mulligan Management Group, LLC
6. Gamify the campaign
“One highly effective email newsletter strategy we’ve used to keep our list (and our clients’ lists) engaged is gamification. A couple simple-yet-delightfully effective examples include ‘peel to see your discount’ features with animated effects and simple trivia multiple-choice questions.
“Gamification is an extraordinary marketing implementation, yet highly underused in my opinion. Adding gamification elements to your email newsletter can really skyrocket engagement with less effort than you’d think.”
- Devin Beverage, Founder & Growth Strategist, DevBev Co.
Tip: Learn more about how to use gamification in your marketing strategy
7. Craft your language specifically for your target audience
“Send emails from a person, not a company. When deciding to open an email, customers check to see if they know the person sending the message. An email that appears to be coming from an actual individual is more personal and much more likely to get opened.
“Millennials expect you to speak to them personally and to provide concise, useful information. They are also used to emojis, hashtags, and informal structure. Forget formal business structure and draft content specifically for email. Keep the content short and crisp. Millennials are used to Twitter and SMS length content. Ensure the email requires minimal scrolling.”
- Chris Allen, Content Marketing & Digital Media Manager, PhoenixNAP Global IT Solutions
8. Take a personal approach
“Use your personal name as a sender. Don’t use something like ‘Company Newsletter’ or ‘Company Name.’ Instead, use a first and last name. I have A/B tested this various times and found personal names to be much more effective.”
- Corina Burri, Marketing Lead, Ofri
9. Use an abandoned cart email
“When running email campaigns in eCommerce, re-targeting is required to compete. One strategy that we use is abandoned cart emails, but we also use what we call 'gratification' emails. We use gratification emails when a customer looks at an item, then leaves a site.”
“When this happens with fashion eCommerce brands, we'll shoot them an email with a header that reads something like: ‘We love your style. Feel free to reach out if you’d like more information.’”
- Nicholas Farmen, Marketing Assistant, Spire
10. Focus more on establishing a relationship than selling a product
“NO SELLING. We can promote an ebook or webinar, but not a product. When you keep your newsletter content valuable based on ‘will my reader want this?’ -- the audience chooses to stay engaged.”
- Autumn Sullivan, Content Strategist, Big Sea Design
11. Analyze and segment your email list
“One of the best things you can do to see an immediate boost in your email engagement is to personalize your emails. You'll have much more success in building a highly-engaged email list when you include relevant, personalized content.
“To do this, you first have to analyze and segment your list. Once you have created segments based on the differences in your audience’s interests or behaviors, you can send your subscribers content that they are much more likely to want to read.
“I recently helped a large company's marketing team improve the open and click rates of their weekly newsletter by personalizing their content based on the subscribers' location. Instead of getting updates about events in every city across the country, they only received event tips relevant to their area.
“It's a simple adjustment, but the impact was great! Their open rates went from an average 18% to 36% and click-to-open rates increased by over 70%.”
- Ruba Aramouny, Founder & Strategic Director at Solid Marketing
Next steps for your campaign
There is no cure-all solution for keeping your email list engaged, however with these tips from email newsletter pros, you have plenty of strategies you can mix and match to find the right solution for your campaign.
Whether it be written feedback or survey scores submitted by your recipients or metrics like open rates and click-through rates, keep the response to different campaign strategies front-of-mind as you look for the most effective ways to keep your subscribers engaged.
Ready to learn more? Discover the best practices behind permission-based email marketing in 2019.